Pre-Arrival Information for International Students
Incoming international students are encouraged to visit the "Incoming International Students" page of the International Student and Scholars Office (ISSO) website.
Please note that ALL visa related questions should be directed to ISSO. If you have any questions or need help with the information provided on this page, please contact ISSO at (781)736-3480 or email email@example.com. ISSO is also on the web at www.brandeis.edu/ISSO.
STEP 1- Obtaining a Form I-20/Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) from Brandeis
After being accepted to Brandeis University, you must complete the International Business School Visa Information/Declaration of Finances (VIDOF). The purpose of the VIDOF is to assist the International Business School in collecting information necessary to issue a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility). All incoming students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must be issued either a Form I-20 (to apply for a an F-1 student visa stamp) or a Form DS-2019 to apply for a J-1 student visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the United States.
After an offer of admission is made, international students must complete and electronically submit the IBS VIDOF. International students must also provide all required supporting documentation as specified om the VIDOF to the IBS Office of Admissions.
All supporting documents must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to:
International Business School (IBS)
Mail Stop -MA 032
Sachar International Center
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453-9110, USA
STEP 2- Paying the SEVIS Fee
Information regarding paying the required SEVIS fee will be provided to you at the time you receive the Brandeis Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. Information regarding the SEVIS fee requirement is also available on the ISSO website.
STEP 3- Applying for your U.S. Visa
As soon as you receive the Form I-20 or DS-2019, please schedule an appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. Information regarding applying for your U.S. visa will provide to you when you receive the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 from ISSO. Information regarding applying or your U.S. visa is also available on the ISSO website.
If you are denied a U.S. visa, please contact ISSO (email@example.com) with detailed information about your visa denial.
You will not be eligible to begin your classes at Brandeis if you enter the U.S. with a Visitor's Visa (B-1 or B-2 status) or on the Visa Waiver Program. Should you enter the U.S. on the B-1/B-2 or through the Visa Waiver Program, you will be required to leave the U.S. and re-enter on the appropriate student or exchange visitor visa. Individuals currently in the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visa should contact ISSO with additional questions.
TRANSFER STUDENT ISSUES AND PROCEDURES
A transfer of your SEVIS record requires communication between your current institution and the Brandeis ISSO. In order to create a seamless transition of your record, please inform ISSO of your current visa status when you submit the IBS VIDOF.
A SEVIS transfer refers to one of these three scenarios:
1. International students currently in the U.S. attending another institution (transferring to IBS from either an undergraduate program or another graduate program).
2. International students currently in the U.S. on F-1 Optional Practical Training prior to beginning a program at IBS.
3. International students attending a summer program (i.e. English language program) in the U.S. prior to coming to Brandeis University.
Students transferring their SEVIS records to Brandeis will need to submit the Brandeis IBS Transfer-In Verification form. This form must be completed by both you and the International Student Advisor at your current institution. The form is available on the ISSO website.
We recommend that you make an appointment with your current International Student Advisor to discuss your intent to transfer and to select an appropriate SEVIS release date.
Additional information regarding transferring SEVIS records to Brandeis University can be found on the ISSO website.
MAKE TIMELY TRAVEL PLANS
According to current visa regulations, you are eligible to enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the start day of your academic program at Brandeis University. Your program start date will be listed on line 5 of the Form I-20 or on line 3 of the Form DS-2019. Please know that the Form I-20/Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) will be reviewed by the Customs and Border Protection Officer at the Port-of-Entry to the United States.
When making travel arrangements, we strongly recommend that you take into consideration the orientation dates for IBS, the academic calendar and any time you may need to search for housing off campus. A copy of the academic calendar can be found in this handbook or on the University Registrar website.
Tutition and fees should be in separate checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank and made payable in U.S. dollars to Brandeis University or your own name. Do NOT bring large sums of cash. Your funds must arrive at the University by the published due date. Students transferring money directly from overseas should allow 15-21 business days for processing and check clearance and request receipts at the time of the transaction. Do not send cash through the mail. Payment of tuition and fees in full can be made online via electronic check or credit card through your Sage account (sage.brandeis.edu).
ARRIVAL IN THE UNITED STATES
The following documents should be carried with you in person and never left with your checked baggage: your passport, your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, copies of your financial support documentation, your admission letter and the Brandeis contact phone numbers and travel instructions found in this booklet.
During orientation, you will be meeting with the staff of ISSO to review visa regulations and responsibilities. If you have any questions in advance, please consult the ISSO website or email ISSO directly.
WHAT TO BRING
Boston's climate varies from very hot in the summer to very cold in the winter. Three types of clothing ar essential. Clothing made from cotton is most comfortable for the summer. In the fall and spring, add heavier cotton and light woolens. Boston winters are often very windy as well as cold, and you will need raincoats and umbrellas all year long. Your native dress is welcome.
You may wish to include in your suitcase those items that remind you of home, such as photographs, music and artwork. It is likely that you will make new friends who will want to learn more about you and your home country. Also, many students find comfort in having familiar objects around them. You may want to bring items you use regularly that may not be readily available to you or may be more expensive in the United States. For example: extra prescription medications, eyeglasses, cameras, watches or MP3 players. When traveling internationally you may also have the opportunity to visit a duty-free port where such items may be purchased at a reduced cost.
You can obtain a booklet on customs regulations at the consulate or embassy where you apply for your visa. In general, you will not be allowed to pass through customs with food, plants, items for resale or alcoholic beverages (if you are under 21 years of age). It is best to purchase electrical appliances after you arrive. Appliances purchased outside the U.S. may not be compatible with the power supply here (120/240A/60 cycles).
Because of airport security standards, we recommend that you consult the web for the latest changes in policies and procedures. Please see the Logan International Airport website for local air travel information.